Archives for Democracy Forum

Democracy Forum 2/17/17

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
Engineer: John Greenman

Program Topic: Ballot Questions in Maine: Whose Initiatives Are They?

Key Discussion Points:
We’ll discuss what happened in the recent election
What our constitution provides
What role the legislature and the governor are playing now.

Guests:
a) John Brautigam, Attorney and election law expert
b) Ron Schmidt, Associate Professor of Political Science at USM. usm.maine.edu/pos/ronald-schmidt

To learn more about this topic:
Laws Governing the Initiative Process in Maine
Initiated Bills in Maine 1911 –
Peoples Vetoes in Maine 1909 –
Referenda in Maine 1910 –
As Progressives Turn to Ballot Initiatives, GOP Eyes Restrictions Steve Mistler story for Maine Public, February 2, 2017.

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
Don Carmichael
Suzanne Carmichael
Starr Gilmartin
Maggie Harling
Linda Hoskins
Ann Luther
Maryann Ogonowski
Pam Person
Leah Taylor
Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 1/20/17

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
Engineer: John Greenman

Program Topic: The Civic Mission of Public Education

Key Discussion Points:
a) What is the historical role of public education in American democracy and civic life?
b) Do inequities in public education and the failure of public schools to prepare all children for citizenship contribute to political inequality?
c) What can citizens do?

Guests:
a) Meira Levinson, Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education www.gse.harvard.edu/faculty/meira-levinson
b) Bill Richards, Maine educator and former Associate Commissioner of Instruction for Maine.

To learn more about this topic:
a) Education and Equality, by Danielle Allen
b) “If Democracies Need Informed Voters, How Can They Thrive While Expanding Enfranchisement?” by Jennifer Hochschild
c) “Why Did We Stop Teaching Political History?” by Fredrik Logevall and Kenneth Osgood in the New York Times
d) No Citizen Left Behind, by Meira Levinson

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
Don Carmichael
Suzanne Carmichael
Starr Gilmartin
Maggie Harling
Linda Hoskins
Ann Luther
Maryann Ogonowski
Pam Person
Leah Taylor
Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 11/18/16

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
Engineer: Amy Browne

Issue: Participatory Democracy

Program Topic: Election Reflections

Key Discussion Points:
What just happened?
Why were we surprised?
What role did voter suppression play in the election?
And what does it mean for the future of democracy?

Guests:
Prof. Mark Brewer, Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine umaine.edu/polisci/faculty-and-staff/mark-brewer/
Kathy Colliton-Gonzalez is Senior Counsel at Demos, a national civil rights organization, where she participates in litigation and policy advocacy to ensure an inclusive democracy and equal opportunity for all. FMI: www.demos.org

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
Linda Hoskins
Ann Luther
Pam Person
Leah Taylor
Linda Washburn
FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 10/21/16

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
Engineer: Amy Browne

Program Topic: Ballot Questions in Maine

Key Discussion Points:
a) We’ll discuss the ballot questions in Maine this year, how the process works, what the questions mean, and how citizen initiatives fit into a representative versus a direct democracy.
b) What are the questions on the ballot? What do they mean? What are the arguments for and against the question?
c) Where can voters learn more?

Guests:
Amy Fried, Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine umaine.edu/polisci/faculty-and-staff/amy- fried/
Jill Goldthwait, former Maine State Senator and award-winning political columnist for the Ellsworth American and the Mount Desert Islander.
       

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
John Bradford
Linda Hoskins
Ann Luther
Marge May
Pam Person
Leah Taylor
Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 9/16/16

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
Engineer: Amy Browne

Program Topic: The Civic Mission of Public Education

(NOTE: This was an abbreviated version of Democracy Forum. Due to technical difficulties the show was 30 minutes rather than the usual 60.)

Key Discussion Points:
a) We discuss whether inequities in public education and the failure of public schools to prepare all children for citizenship contribute to political inequality.
b) Has there been a decline in civic education? Or an evolution in what constitutes civics instruction?
c) What do kids typically learn about how government and democracy work in Maine and in the United States?
d) What do citizens need to learn to be effective in civic life?
e) In what ways do disparities in the quality of education among school systems widen empowerment gaps between rich and poor children?

Guests:
Meira Levinson, Professor of Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education www.gse.harvard.edu/faculty/meira-levinson
Bill Richards, Maine educator and former Associate Commissioner of Instruction for Maine.   

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
John Bradford
Linda Hoskins
Ann Luther
Pam Person
Leah Taylor
Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 7/15/16

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
Engineer: Amy Browne

Program Topic: Privatizing Public Policy: Is Philanthropy Good for Democracy?

Key Discussion Point:
a) We discuss philanthropy, foundations, shadow networks, and the private drivers of public policy from the Koch Brothers to the Gates-inspired Giving Pledge.
b) To what extent is a libertarian world-view pushing down taxes and reducing the size of government while increasing concentrations of private wealth? Has there also been an increase
in charitable and public-benefit giving?
c) Is private generosity displacing public dollars in supporting charitable, educational, research, and other non-governmental institutions? Has this shift in funding created a change in priorities for these dollars?
d) How much of this private giving is transparent? Can we tell where the money is going and to what ends?
e) Government bureaucracy has a terrible reputation for waste and fraud. Is this kind of philanthropy more effective? Does it get the job done? Could the public sector spend the money more
effectively?
f) Whose interests are being served? Is this good for democracy? What can citizens do?

Guests:
Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University; sociology.fas.harvard.edu/people/theda-skocpol
Alec MacGillis, Alec MacGillis covers politics and government for ProPublica. www.propublica.org/site/author/alec_macgillis

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
John Bradford
Linda Hoskins
Ann Luther
Pam Person
Leah Taylor
Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 6/17/16

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
Engineer: Amy Browne

Issue: Participatory Democracy

Program Topic: Press or Propaganda: Corporate Media, a Free Press, and the Future of Democracy

Key Discussion Points:
-Tension between corporate, profit-motivated ownership of mainstream media and the public interest mission served by journalism in an open democracy.
-What roles are old and new media playing in forming an educated electorate in 21st century America?
-The long-held belief in a liberal media bias has been challenged by the success of Fox News and the like. Is this kind of POV media a new phenomenon in American journalism? Which side is winning?
-What happens when the ultra-rich like Sheldon Adelson, Rupert Murdoch, and Jeffrey Bezos start buying up news outlets?
-Is this good for democracy? What can citizens do?

Guests:
Michael Franz, Associate Professor at Bowdoin College and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project. mikemfranz.com/
John Christie, co-founder and senior editor for the Maine Center of Public Interest Reporting. pinetreewatchdog.org/about/

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
John Bradford
Linda Hoskins
Ann Luther
Marge May
Pam Person
Leah Taylor
Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

Democracy Forum 5/20/16

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
Engineer: Amy Browne

Issue: Participatory Democracy

Program Topic: Us vs Them: Is Government the Enemy

Key Discussion Points:
a) We’ll discuss the history and cultural origins of American attitudes toward government
b) How these attitudes have evolved over time, and
c) Whether these attitudes have been purposefully amplified by vested interests.

Guests:
Colin Woodard, award winning author and journalist www.colinwoodard.com/
Amy Fried, Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine umaine.edu/polisci/faculty-and-staff/amy-fried/

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
John Bradford
Linda Hoskins
Ann Luther
Marge May
Pam Person
Leah Taylor
Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org